At a more serious or theological level, this is a reductive and banal spirituality that may satisfy the zealot but is dangerously crass and in fact profoundly ungodly. It depicts a genocidal God, sufficiently cruel to hurt indiscriminately, and too indifferent or impotent to be able to punish only those who have genuinely caused harm. It’s all the product of an ancient, fearful belief system that has nothing to do with the gentle Jewish rabbi of the 1st century who called for love and forgiveness, and so distant and different from the Gospel calls of Jesus to turn the other cheek, embrace our enemies, reach out to the most rejected and marginalized, and work for justice and peace.
Remove all aspects of postmillenialist theonomy from the old mainlines or the reactionary nationalist religious right and the possibility that the United States can be understood as part of "the nations" in Psalm 2's description of divine judgment against the nations doesn't seem that hard to consider. That the United States is simply the latest iteration of Babylon the Great in earthly terms, regardless of whether we're talking about the reverse-engineered red state or blue state Jesus, also seems like something that gets avoided in the points and counterpoints.
Exodus 22:28's command to not revile God nor revile the leaders of the people could still be a binding instruction for us even if we regard the rulers of the people in our time and place as emblems of graft and misused power regardless of partisan loyalties. Where anti-theists may see contradiction a Christian can see ambivalence regarding principalities, powers, the nature of the state which only ever has power through the power of the sword and the ambivalence Christians learn to live with regarding how the power that ought to be used to curtail and punish evil is in the course of the world and the people who live in it very often put to the use of perpetuating evil.
It can be easy for a Christian to say "The Jesus I believe in wouldn't punish us with a novel coronavirus" and if that's the case then there's no divine judgment aspect for, say, Trump's border policy? No punishment regarding capitalism? Or totalitarian aspects of Chinese rule?
Yet a paradox afoot is that while it's possible to assert by implication that one doesn't believe Jesus sent the plague to punish, it's still possible to argue, directly, that R. R. Reno is an idiot and a pharisee.
In our simple-minded picture of things, we imagine a powerful fear of death arises because of the brutal deeds of cruel dictators and bloodthirsty executioners. But in truth, Satan prefers sentimental humanists. We resent the hard boot of oppression on our necks, and given a chance, most will resist. How much better, therefore, to spread fear of death under moralistic pretexts.This is what is happening in New York as I write. The media maintain a drumbeat of warnings. And the message is not just that you or I might end up in an overloaded emergency room gasping for air. We are more often reminded that we can communicate the virus to others and cause their deaths.Just so, the mass shutdown of society to fight the spread of COVID-19 creates a perverse, even demonic atmosphere. Governor Cuomo and other officials insist that death’s power must rule our actions. Religious leaders have accepted this decree, suspending the proclamation of the gospel and the distribution of the Bread of Life. They signal by their actions that they, too, accept death’s dominion.